How would you make a scaled plan of photo/art frames and the wall to organize a plan of attack for drilling/mounting?
April 3, 2011 2:23 AM   Subscribe

I've got a ton of picture frames big and small that I want to hang in my living room all at once on one big wall and want to plan out their layout before drilling. Is Sketchup a good tool to use? Or what/how would you do a scaled plan of the frames and the wall to lay them out in a certain order? Tetris for mounting pictures.
posted by talljamal to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Get a few large sheets of paper, and trace your frames onto them. Cut out the paper frames. Using blue tack, hang them in many different variations until you're happy. When you're done, simply measure how many inches from the top of each frame the hook needs to be, and you can nail/drill right through the paper!
posted by shazzam! at 2:34 AM on April 3, 2011 [9 favorites]

Remember Robin Williams' principles of design:

For repetition, I would aim for the same space between each, say 5 centimetres? This won't always be possible, and where it's not, you should make the difference as large as possible to show that it's meant to be a difference (Contrast)

Alignment - Please don't centre them all. Try this GIS

Here is a good use of alignment and the page it comes from, shows a variety of arrangement styles.
posted by b33j at 2:47 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You guys are awesome. Thank you!
posted by talljamal at 3:42 AM on April 3, 2011

Why not lay them out on the floor first?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:56 AM on April 3, 2011

Response by poster: @Joe : I might try that too, with paper patterns, so i can walk over them, risk free (especially since there's some frames too big for me to want to tape paper together to create). But there is more wall real estate than it will be difficult to make room for them alls.
posted by talljamal at 5:53 AM on April 3, 2011

I usually lay mine on the floor or bed first. Using a level helps a lot too.
posted by PJMoore at 6:48 AM on April 3, 2011

After you use the shazzam! method, don't take all the paper down at once. Replace one paper with one frame at a time or you get to look at bunch of holes and try to figure out what frame will fit where.
posted by soelo at 7:52 AM on April 3, 2011

Best answer: You can do this with sketch-up or any of the techniques described above - just remember, when you go to put these on the wall you have to place your hanger so that it accounts for any offset or movement. Frames with a wire across the back with often hang lower than you'd expect and drop just a little bit as the wire starts to conform to the hook.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:15 AM on April 3, 2011

Response by poster: @b33j .. I like the arrangement in that image, but on looking at it more I think my eye may focus on the horizontal line that the frames "frame" instead of the images in the frames themselves, lol. But that just maybe from the angle the example is shown.
posted by talljamal at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2011

I'd play with sketchup and/or photoshop first. If you take photos of your pics one by one and put them in Photoshop choosing a 'canvas size' for each that's to scale. Then you can fiddle around basically on one page arranging them just for colour, tonal complementarity, sizes etc. It saves hauling frames around on the floor - although, that's how I've done mine in the past.

Then you can bring them in to Sketchup and fiddle around with sizing on the wall. It's easy to scale in Sketchup, possibly you'll need to do a free, short tutorial online about bringing images into Sketchup if you haven't done it before. But it's easy.
posted by honey-barbara at 9:21 AM on April 3, 2011

Best answer: Some sites for instruction and inspiration:

Making a picture wall collage from DesignFormula
Step by step guide to hanging art
Apartment Therapy: How to hang art in groups
Design Sponge: Best Gallery Walls
Apartment Therapy: How to hang artwork and not screw it up

I like b33j's advice about alignment -- if you can't align something, make it look purposefully unaligned.
posted by amanda at 9:32 AM on April 3, 2011

Shazzam's advice is the best. When I finish a landscape design, I make up a big poster in Illustrator to present it. What I've learned is that things on a small screen never look quite the same as they do big on a wall, and that's just screen to poster (42 x 36).

I would use PS or Illustrator over Sketchup if you want to go that route. You could even mess around in Preview or Word or anything that lets you size and move images. I don't think a 3-d program is going to be especially helpful, unless you want to trace arcs of sunlight across your wall or something. I would still go with real size pieces on the real wall over facsimiles, though. That's always optimal when designing with space.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2011

After you use the shazzam! method, don't take all the paper down at once.

"The Shazzam! Method". I LIKE IT.
posted by shazzam! at 10:39 PM on April 3, 2011

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